I checked out this event for three reasons:
- I never read Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, but I read/heard it being referenced so much, that I felt that I shouldn’t miss a chance to see someone like that for free.
- I wanted to take the opportunity to attempt to network and do a little bit of recruiting since we’re currently hiring for an IA.
- I’ve never been inside Adobe. I was just curious!
Well — mission accomplished, I suppose. #1… To be honest, Krug’s talk that promised to reveal secrets behind creating a “perfect web page” was a bit disappointing, because it turned out to be nothing more than hammering home two of the most basic IA/user-interface design points for an hour. The two pointers — clearly indicate where you are on the site by highlighting a nav item or using a breadcrumb trail, and use a clear and consistent page title on each page — are not revolutionary by any means, and they’re something most UI designers practice without thinking about them. In fact, we do so much more nuanced thinking to solve complex UI problems everyday. To be fair to Krug, it might be true that some designers forget the basics when we get caught up in small details — but I still think he was overstating how many websites really do miss these two mindnumbingly simple steps. And he was truly exaggerating when he implied — although he cleverly never said so — that having those two things will give you a perfect web page.
Then again, I have to remind myself that it was a free event after all, and his job is to educate the ones who may not be as familiar with the basics as others.
I still liked Krug as a speaker. He comes across as a genuine guy, and he reminds us all to always look at things from the user’s point of view. Also, he doesn’t speak with the Nielsen-esque conviction that you must follow all the rules to be successful. He recognizes that there are plenty of gray areas, that we all make mistakes, and that’s why we should frequently test and evaluate our work to catch the problems. For example, he was extremely kind to the site owner when we found that a “home” link on her site that we were viewing live as a group turned out to be a broken link. (At the end of his talk we all looked at URLs — suggested by the audience — to apply his two pointers.) Instead of singling out that site to talk about how important it is to check your site for broken links, Krug simply reminded us that everyone’s sites contain errors like that and more all the time. To him it’s not bad to make mistakes — but it is if you don’t find out by testing with users.
Oh, one more thing. He has not finished his “Site Navigation Identification Chart” — so that was not shared as promised at this time. He did say that his idea is based on plane spotting cards from World War II.
#2 was bit of a disappointment as well. I met a few people, but I didn’t quite get a chance to talk to as many people as I had hoped. If you are looking at this post and are looking for an IA opportunity, please send your resume to careers[at]pop.us.
#3 — I really didn’t see enough of Adobe to make any impression. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I guess it’s no surprise that it looked like any other corporate giant.
(By the way I illustrated his mug since I didn’t have any photo that I could legally use for this post…)